London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 26 March 2009 – London-listed Mwana Africa Plc – a pan-African resources company with exploration and producing activities in Zimbabwe, Ghana and the DRC – aims to reopen a Zimbabwe gold mine within six months, and also plans discussions with the government about possibly restarting its Bindura nickel operations in the Southern African country.
Mwana CEO Kalaa Mpinga said here that key to the decision to restart Freda Rebecca mine was a recent move by Zimbabwe’s central bank to relinquish its role as mandatory sales agent, allowing firms to sell gold on the world market for the first time. Companies could also now hold foreign currency.
“What is important to me is the approach and the attitude the government is taking to the economy, and I must say we are all very excited,” he told Reuters in an interview. He said the new unity government was making all the right noises, and following up on the noises they had been making.
Mwana expects to reopen its Freda Rebecca mine – which was closed in 2006 – in four to six months’ time. It will initially produce 48 000 ounces per year, ramping up to 80-90,000 ounces.
Reuters reports that the company is also looking at the prospects of reopening its Bindura nickel operations in Zimbabwe, although this would be more difficult due to the sharp fall in nickel prices. While nickel prices have crashed 80% since touching a peak in May 2007, gold has gained 34% in the same period.
Bindura Nickel Corp is the only integrated nickel mine, smelter and refinery operation in Africa.
Over the 40 years that Bindura has operated, however, it has mostly been able to weather downturns and find a way to run at a profit.
“We are getting our act together, getting our numbers and our facts so that we can engage the government in a discussion. We need to review everything from our electricity price to wage rates, our transport costs and our tax position,” Mpinga said.